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Hezbollah reportedly handed over to security forces a suspected shooter in the Dec. 14 attack on a United Nations peacekeeping mission convoy in South Lebanon that killed one Irish soldier and injured three others. It is unclear whether the suspect is a member of Hezbollah, though a security source told AFP on Sunday that “preliminary investigations are nearly complete.” Earlier reports of the investigation claimed that security forces identified at least two suspects who carried out a premeditated attack on the UNIFIL convoy upon its entry to the village of al-Aaqbiya.
The Lebanese judiciary issued restrictions against actress Stephanie Saliba, who is under investigation in relation to corruption in cahoots with central bank chief Riad Salameh. Mount Lebanon Public Prosecutor Ghada Aoun on Friday ordered a property freeze on Saliba, preventing her from selling her properties. The measure is part of an investigation into Saliba's alleged collusion with Salameh involving, among other things, the purchase of properties by the actress on behalf of the central bank chief. Security forces briefly arrested the actress, releasing her after her interrogation by Financial Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim. Salameh is the subject of a domestic investigation and multiple international probes alleging the implication of the Banque du Liban head in corruption and money laundering. The French judiciary recently indicted Salameh's former paramour Anna Kosakova, who is suspected of involvement in shady dealings with the central bank chief.
The country’s ongoing cholera outbreak, which began in early October, highlights the “dire situation” of Lebanon's infrastructure, caretaker Health Minister Firass Abiad said yesterday. Abiad noted that one positive consequence of the disease's spread is that it could demonstrate to international donors the need to support "water facilities, public services, waste infrastructure and sewage networks." At the start of the cholera outbreak, among the chief demands and interventions was fuel to power water treatment infrastructure. Lebanon on Sunday recorded no new cholera cases or deaths in the previous 24 hours, keeping the total number of cases at 666 and deaths at 23. This is the first cholera outbreak in Lebanon since 1993.
The lira fell further on the parallel market yesterday, reaching a new low of LL47,000 to the US dollar. The lira began its most recent descent in early December after stabilizing around LL30,000 to the dollar in November. The lira's value previously recovered from slumps through repeated dollar injections by Banque du Liban. The central bank’s most concerted attempt to stabilize the exchange rate has been the implementation of Sayrafa, a lira-to-dollar trading platform. However, the platform’s failure to curb the lira’s plummet on the parallel market is clearly evident in the ever-widening gap between the market and the platform rate, the latter currently standing around LL15,000 below the former.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from over the weekend: “Breaking the ‘sect and sex bargain’: Personal status draft law seeks sweeping change”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz
Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.Hezbollah reportedly handed over to security forces a suspected shooter in the Dec. 14 attack on a United Nations peacekeeping mission convoy in South Lebanon that killed one Irish soldier and injured three others. It is unclear whether the suspect is a member of Hezbollah, though a security source told AFP on Sunday that...